Annie Oakley Days are here again!
This festival provides a great week of entertainment for the old hometown, and Annie deserves a celebration in her name.
She became a sure shot out of necessity, to provide food for her family. She became a star in a field dominated by men, and she traveled all over the world, but she never forgot her family and Darke County.
First of all, I love the Annie Oakley Days Flea Market. Booth after booth of all kinds of fascinating stuff I have absolutely no need for, along with things I broke, threw or gave away years ago. Now they’re expensive antiques.
The ingenuity and creativity in the craft booths always attracts me, especially the items made out of real wood. I like the way it feels and the way it smells as well as the way it looks.
Food booths are marvelous, and everyone knows you can eat and drink all you want because all of the standing and walking through the flea market cancels all the calories in the refreshments.
My first purchase on the grounds is usually from the Indian jewelry stand. Since it’s run by local people I’m sure of the quality, and if I suffer buyer’s regret because I don’t buy some item I like, I can catch up with them in the coliseum during the Great Darke County Fair.
This year, however my first purchase will be at the souvenir stand. I especially like the paper weights. There are only 35 of them, and I like number 20 best.
Paper weights are like rocks. They require no care—physical, spiritual, or psychological. They just sit there. And I always have stacks of paper sitting around that need to be held down.
In the display of souvenirs I saw items priced from one dollar to fifty dollars, so there really is something for everyone, from pins to pens shaped like Annie’s gun, from paper weights to pen knives, and even furniture throws with scenes of Darke County.
As always we’re looking forward to the parade. The change in the route means we can sit on my son’s front porch to watch. Since he’s working midnight shift, I’m sure he’ll just love the parade.
But, we won’t have to head for Broadway with a carload of lawn chairs after church to reserve our spot near Fourman’s. We won’t have to cart the cooler loaded with treats and drinks downtown. And we won’t have to bribe or force an “old” kid to walk a block to the bathroom with a squirming little kid who “gots to go!”
The parade route markers are neat. I have to admit the first time I saw one I thought someone had spilled white paint in the street. By the third one I figured out it was intentional. And by the fifth one (which I saw right side up,) I knew it was Annie and her gun.
After the parade a whole bunch of people will be at our place for food and fun.
I really like Annie Oakley Days. It’s like Christmas in July, outside with plenty of sunshine, family and friends all around, and no frazzling gift shopping.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate July 23, 1997.